Investors Use Viacom Battle to Campaign Against Special Voting Stock

The Council for Institutional Investors, an influential group of top U.S. pension plans, is using Viacom as a “top talking point,” to urge members to take a stronger stance against companies adopting the dual class structure, said Ken Bertsch, executive director of the trade association.¬†Investor concern about dual class companies, in which only one class of investors has voting rights, has been increasing as a growing number of companies are adopting this structure when they go public, Bertsch said. In March, the Council for Institutional Investors adopted a policy that all investors in IPOs should have equal voting rights.¬†There have been eight proposals to collapse the dual share class at S&P 500 companies so far this year, up from zero in 2012, according to proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services.

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